Something Will Always Be Wrong
And that’s alright
Not a particularly uplifting title, I know. But if we shift our perspective, this simple statement can actually be quite freeing.
I’ve realized that for my mind at least, something is always going to be wrong. There is no moment when my monkey mind cannot or will not (given the choice) to find something to be sad, mad, anxious, or upset about. It’s just not possible.
Oh, the day is going great? You just had a successful conference presentation? Yeah well, no need to get too carried away. Remember, you’re horrible at math.
Oh, the sun is shining through your window? The flowers outside look pretty? Well, why don’t we think about that article you have to write, those forty field notes you haven’t worked on and the fact that you haven’t even started coding for part 1 of your dissertation? Still want to think about that sunshine?
Annoyingly and endlessly, my mind just drones on and on spewing negativity to me like some kind of bitter old aunt, if I leave it unchecked. If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, think Aunty Muriel. I’ve got an Aunty Muriel in my head. I think most of us do.
The human mind has a natural bias toward negativity. It’s designed to protect us so naturally, it goes looking for things that have the potential to hurt us. Really, it’s just being proactive and looking out for us ahead of time, you know? It’s a good thing, really (or so I keep telling myself).
But in trying to protect you, the mind sometimes robs you of all happiness and makes it so that there is no moment when everything is wonderful. In every moment, either an awful fear is looming at the back of your mind or you’re endlessly ruminating on past mistakes. No moment is free.
So for the mind, something will always be wrong. Nothing will ever truly be perfect. But if we learn to embrace this aspect of our thinking and learn to work with it, we can truly live a positive life. We must learn to work with our overly anxious monkey minds.
I’ve worked out a three-step routine for this. With practice, you can make this happen in just a few minutes, if not seconds.
Step 1 — Thank you
I thank my mind. The overly anxious, negatively biased, annoying part. As pesky as it can be at times, I thank it for doing what it does — for trying to protect me.
Step 2 — “I choose to let that thought go”
That’s the exact sentence I say to myself when a thought arises that I am not interested in following. I recognize the thought and choose to let it go. Sometimes if it’s a particularly strong thought, I visualize pushing the thought away and actually raise my arms to chest height and push my hands outwards as if to say “No — I don’t want you, thanks.”
Step 3 — Focus on what I want more of
I forget now where I read the following mantra for positive self-development: focus on what you want more of. Having let go of the negative thought, I do just that. I guide my mind, like a child being led by an adult, to a more positive scenario.
In doing this routine, I’ve learned to work with my mind rather than against it. You see, if nothing will ever truly be perfect, why fuss about it? Something will always be wrong for the monkey mind. So simply choose to let those thoughts arise and float away from you and embrace life in all its beauty.
We can learn to appreciate the things that are wonderful in our lives and choose to direct our focus on those things and, therefore, be more positive all around.
In some ways, life’s perfection lies in its imperfections, for they teach us valuable lessons. Like this one.